Walking across the hall. It may not sound like much, but when you ask Dr. Zachary Abbott and Dr. Ryan Halpin about the advantages of the new Olympia Orthopaedic Associates (OlyOrtho) Spine Center, the phrase comes up repeatedly. Increased collaboration is high on the list of benefits for both physicians and patients, many of whom come from outlying areas in Mason, Lewis and Pierce Counties and schedule their entire day around appointments.
“It’s much easier to walk across the hall and talk to a colleague as opposed to calling each other in a building across town,” says Abbott.
“I can just walk across the hall and get an opinion,” Halpin echoes, “instead of having the patient make a different appointment with a different doctor. That makes it easy and efficient.”
Convenience, increased ability to collaborate, and streamlining visits for patients are just a few of the advantages the new Spine Center will provide. The new building will house the entire medical team involved in both surgical and non-surgical aspects of spine care, as well as the firm’s administrative staff.
The idea for the center began years ago as the partners recognized that the continued expansion of their team would require more room to function. “Basically, the growth of our group outpaced our physical capacity to house everybody in our office building,” Halpin explains. “We needed more space, so we decided to embark on this project and combine our spine building with a place to have our administration.” Physicians, Physicians’ Assistants and Nurse Practitioners will share space with the office staff.
Support for Your Back
Back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. It’s also one of the most common reasons for missing work, accounting for more than 264 million lost workdays per year. In the United States, 8% of all adults experience persistent or chronic back pain and are limited in everyday activities as a result. Causes range from muscle strain and bulging discs to arthritis and osteoporosis, plus a host of less common conditions.
The center will treat them all through multiple modalities. As Abbott explains, care tends to fall into two categories: manual treatments such as physical therapy, massage and chiropractic, and surgery. “We also have different interventional treatments like injection therapies and epidural steroid injections,” he says.
The center will house two neurosurgeons, including Halpin, several orthopedic spine surgeons, a physiatrist (a physician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation), and a pain anesthesiologist. “We’ll offer services assessments of people’s spine issues, procedures, follow-ups after surgical care, and of course we’ll have our procedure room where we can do things like kyphoplasty and injections,” says Halpin. Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive way of treating spinal compression fractures which are often associated with osteoporosis.
Common issues the physicians treat include chronic back or neck pain, degenerative disc disease, herniated, bulging and slipped discs, pinched nerves, spinal fractures, sciatica, and spinal stenosis, among others. “When people have finally gotten up the courage to seek care for their back, we’ll have the whole spectrum of access in one spot,” says Abbott. “We have MRI capability right across the street. It’s about providing patients with everything they need in one location.”
The OlyOrtho team has always been collaborative, but the center will make it easier to consult with one another. With so many specialties housed in one building, any physician wanting a second opinion can simply go next door. The team will also have more physical space to accommodate patients. “I’ll have my Physician Assistant and my Nurse Practitioner in the same clinic space with me,” says Halpin. “If they have questions, they can come and talk to me. We can bounce things off each other immediately and get answers for the patients.”
For patients, the one-stop-shop will save time and money, especially for those who live in towns like Long Beach or Port Angeles and drive several hours for appointments. Often, they have to take the day off work or be driven by a spouse, son or daughter who needs to rearrange their schedule.
“It’s nice if they’ve come a long way,” says Abbott. “Now I can go and find one of the surgeons and say, ‘Can you meet with this person now because they’ve driven two hours to get here?’ It makes it a lot more streamlined for patients, and they appreciate that. It’s better patient care overall.”
Learn more by visiting the Olympia Orthopaedic Associates website or calling 360.478.1087.